Platinum Eagles were first issued in 1997 as an addition to the already successful American Eagle program. Made from .9995 fine Platinum, the coins were the first in U.S. history to be minted of this scarce precious metal.
The design of Platinum Eagles differs depending on strike type. While the obverse of all Platinum Eagles is essentially the same for every issue of every year, the reverse design changed every year for the proof issues and the 2006-2008 collector 'burnished' mint state issues. The bullion issue coins have kept the same reverse since the inception of the series in 1997. The common obverse of Platinum Eagles, designed by John Mercanti, features the head of Lady Liberty as depicted on the Statue of Liberty. The 'straight ahead' vantage point used in the design symbolizes Lady Liberty looking towards the future. Between the rays of her crown is the word LIBERTY. The standard reverse for the bullion issue (and all 1997 issues) of Platinum Eagle depicts a Bald Eagle soaring past a rising sun.
The designs for the reverse of the proof and collector's "burnished" issues changed in every year they were issued to commemorate regions of the nation, branches of government, and other thematic subjects.
- 1997 (proof only): Bald Eagle flying past rising sun.
- 1998 (proof only): Bald Eagle flying over a rocky New England coast, which features a house and light house. In the sky is a full moon.
- 1999 (proof only): Bald Eagle flying over the wetlands of the Southeast, with an alligator in a swamp below.
- 2000 (proof only): Bald Eagle flying over a Midwestern farm, complete with fields, house, barn, and granary.
- 2001 (proof only): Bald Eagle flying over giant (Saguaro) cacti of the Southwestern deserts.
- 2002 (proof only): Bald Eagle about to catch a fish in a lake surrounded by trees and snowcapped mountains.
- 2003 (proof only): Bald Eagle on the branch of a Rocky Mountain Pine, situated in front of a flying American Flag.
- 2004 (proof only): Lady Liberty seated with a torch in her right hand and grains draped over her knee. In front of her is a Bald Eagle clutching an olive branch in its talons. The design was inspired by the sculpture "America," located outside the United States Customs House in New York City, by Daniel Chester French.
- 2005 (proof only): Herladic Eagle behind a shield, olive branch, and cornucopia. These represent the strength and beauty of the United States.
- 2006 (proof and burnished issues): A depiction of the Legislative muse inscribing the law. She is flanked on both sides by two pillars which represent the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. Atop each pillar is a Bald Eagle, protecting the new law. This is the first of three designs which will depict the three branches of American government: Legislative, Judicial, and Executive. The latter two designs will be released in 2007 and 2008.
- 2007 (proof and burnished issues): A depiction of a Heraldic Eagle representing the Executive branch of government holding a streamer in its beak that bears the word "FREEDOM". This is the second in a three year program honoring the three branches of government.
- 2008 (proof and burnished issues): A design honoring the Judicial branch of government. This is the third and final in a three year program honoring the three branches of government.
- 2009 (proof only): "To Form A More Perfect Union," featuring four faces representing the diversity of the United States.
- 2010 (proof only): Blindfolded "Lady Justice" holding scales in one hand and a laurel branch in the other. The image is representative of the theme "To Establish Justice"
- 2011 (proof only): To Insure Domestic Tranquility
- 2012 (proof only): To Provide for the Common Defence.
- 2013 (proof only): To Promote General Welfare.
- 2014 (proof only): To Secure the Blessings of Liberty to Ourselves and our Posterity.
The American Platinum Eagle is available in the following denominations:
|$10 (1/10 oz.) Platinum Eagle
|0.1001 Troy oz.
(3.112 g, 0.110 oz.)
|$25 (1/4 oz.) Platinum Eagle
|0.2501 Troy oz.
(7.780 g, 0.274 oz.)
|$50 (1/2 oz.) Platinum Eagle
|0.5003 Troy oz.
(15.560 g, 0.549 oz.)
|$100 (1 oz.) Platinum Eagle
|1.0005 Troy oz.
(31.120 g, 1.098 oz.)
Platinum eagles are manufactured as both business strikes (mint state) and proofs.